Three streets in Mojave named after a Mine and its Pioneers

Remi Nadeau

  Three streets in the town of Mojave were named after a mine located near Lone Pine and two of the mines' pioneers. The streets named in Mojave are: Cerro Gordo, Belshaw and Nadeau; this is part two of a three-part story pertaining to the names of those streets.

  NADEAU STREET - is named after a Los Angeles freighter and hotelier by the name of Remi Nadeau; a French Canadian who emigrated to the United States when he was a young boy.  He is known as the “owner of the largest vineyard in the world. The following is what I found about Mr. Nadeau according to his 1887 Los Angeles Time obituary, his grandson’s book called “City Makers” and exerts from a story written by Cecile Page Vargo.

HISTORY OF "OLD" REMI NADEAU - Remi Nadeau was born on Sept. 21, 1821 in Kamouraska, Quebec, Canada and emigrated to the state of New Hampshire in his early 20’s where he met and married Margaret Flanders Frye in 1844; the couple had four children.

  In 1861 Nadeau crossed the plains and stopped in Salt Lake City where he built one or two mills; then moved to Los Angeles, Calif.; after arriving in Los Angeles, Nadeau met a Los Angeles real estate agent by the name of Prudent Beaudry (who would become the mayor of Los Angeles from 1874-1876) and borrowed $600 in order to buy mules and wagons to create a freighting company. The first major runs for the company were a 700-mile trek from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, Utah which took 35 days in both directions however, the road began to decline in 1868 when the transcontinental railroad came in and by 1864, he and others like him were teaming 1,100 miles and 60 days to the camps of Bannock in Virginia City, Montana; by 1868, the joining of the Union Pacific and Central Railroads threatened the freight wagon business.

  In December 1868; Nadeau’s freight wagons were rolling with full loads of 18 inch, 85 pound silver lead ingots headed down to Los Angeles from the Inyo Mountain mining camp of Cerro Gordo; the wagons would then make the return 230 mile trip along the Bullion Trail to Cerro Gordo with wine, brandy, fruits, nuts, potatoes, corn and other necessities and by 1871; with more than 2,246 tons of bullion coming out of the high desert mountain top, the Los Angeles based NEWS was proclaiming that Nadeau “has given employment to more men, purchased more produce and introduced more trade to Los Angeles than any other five men in this city”. Nadeau’s freighting contract with Cerro Gordo expired in Dec. of 1871 and the business went to James Brady who was the Superintendent of the Owens Lake Company smelter; Brady furnished and launched the Bessie Brady steamer six months later which controlled the entire Cerro Gordo bullion. The little steamer carried ingot across Owens Lake saving three days wagon travel but the wagon subcontractor hired by Brady couldn't haul the silver bars from the lakeside fast enough and Nadeau eventually wound up with the contract once again.

  Nadeau joined hands with Mortimer Belshaw and Victor Beaudry of the Cerro Gordo Mines to form the Cerro Gordo Freighting Company and as his empire grew, Nadeau had 80 teams each consisting of 14 mules and three high side wagons which carried freight from Cerro Gordo and other mining camps to Los Angeles and back again; Nadeau also built stations 13-21 miles apart providing stopovers for tired freighters and their worn mules. Nadeau was the premier freight mogul for the Eastern Sierra trade for the next nine years. In the meantime, Nadeau freight company turned to the transportation of borax used in laundry detergents in the mining camps of Columbus, Nevada and in June of 1873 the new Chamber of Commerce and the owners of the silver mines asked Nadeau to return to Cerro Gordo; he agreed on the condition that the owners of the mine invested $150,000 to build new stations along the mountain and desert roads. They accepted and built stations at Coyote Holes, Red Rock Canyon, Forks-in-the-Road, Cow Holes and Barrel Springs; Nadeau became a full-time partner of the new Cerro Gordo Freighting Company at John Lang’s spread in Soledad Canyon. The Cerro Gordo Freighting Company was dissolved in 1882.

  Nadeau then invested in sugar beets, wine, grapes, barley and land in downtown Los Angeles for a vineyard and in 1886, he built the four-story Nadeau Hotel, which the “Pueblo” have never seen before. The building is located at the corner of First and Spring Streets in Los Angeles and the cost at the time was $165,000.

  “Old” Remi Nadeau passed away on Jan. 15, 1887 surrounded by his wife and four children.

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